Travel is about transformation, a catalyst to make sense of people’s behaviour and observe the challenges and beauties of our planet. Visiting museums, sightseeing in a double decker bus or tasting the authentic dishes are experiences that we all strive to accomplish when we are travelling. However, our curiosity to get wind of the meaning of life for locals is indulged when we visit the ugly or the unpleasant still the charismatic neighbourhoods. Exploring the local slums & the stomping grounds, cast light on motives that influence political, social or cultural movement that spawn in a community.
El Campo de Cebada, in La Latina quarter, Madrid, is one of those local hangouts, with graffitis, musicians, plays and wave of people moving in and out. It was a sport centre that has been demolished and now is a temporary community space “por y para los vecinos – for and by the neighbours”, until the funding for new centre is raised. The confined space is about self expression, camaraderie and joy. The sense of belonging fused with personal identity is in the air, ranging from group of youth playing cards to dancing or music lovers sitting on a rusted chairs to enjoy the local artist to different groups of individuals with different backgrounds drinking, reading or relaxing. They are all merged in this rugged yet vibrant space to enjoy life.
The wisdom to engage the community to solve the collective challenges, foster creative learning and allow the abstract feelings of subjectivity rise between the inhabitants and the street performers and musicians, underlies the purpose of this space.
It made me wonder whether creating community spaces where the neighbours contribute to its development as a mean of dialogue and healthy activism can encourage respect, responsibility and compassion among the inhabitants?